Getting referrals for your dental business can be one of the most successful ways of bringing in new patients. Considering the fact that a very high percentage of people choose their doctors and dentists based upon the recommendations of friends and family, referrals can mean a lot to your dental practice.
Some dentists are afraid to specifically go out and ask for referrals. This is silly. Asking for referrals doesn’t show any sort of weakness or lack of patients. When done casually and in context, your patients may not even realize that you are asking them to gather referrals. Here are some ways to get more patient referrals.
Offer Incentives to Current Dental Patients
Most dentists put a spot on new patient forms that asks for referral information. In this spot the patient can include information about how they found your dental business, either by listing the individual that told them or the place where they encountered your advertisement. You can use this little line to offer incentives for patient referrals. Periodically advertise to your current patients that you are offering an incentive program for referrals. You can make it on a limited time basis or you can do it all the time; that is really up to you and your bookkeeper to figure out. You might try giving 10% off to a dental patient when a referral is received in their name, or offering a free cleaning, etc. This way you are making your current patients happy by rewarding them for finding you new patients. It is a win-win situation.
Ask Dental Patients to Hand Out Brochures
There is no shame in occasionally asking patients to hand out brochures. For some patients it may even seem quantifiably normal. For example, if you have a patient who is a teacher and you are an orthodontist, you could give her a few brochures and ask that she place them on the greeting table at open house or PTA meetings. When you see an opportunity, do not be afraid to take it.
Mention Dental Referrals in Organic Conversation
One of the most common ways of reminding patients to drum up some references is by adding the call to action to an organic conversation. As you finish up with a cleaning you could say something like “So many people go years without getting their teeth cleaned professionally. If you know anybody like that you should mention me to them.” You may even want to add “I offer free cleanings to new patients” if you are so inclined.
There is no shame in asking your clients to refer new dental patients. Most people do this anyway without even thinking about it. Adding a little hint or an incentive there can help to greatly boost your yearly referrals, and it is a free or relatively inexpensive marketing technique for your dental business.